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Welcome to LDN…

That’s the note I scribbled late Wednesday night after packing for two days in London. I’ve spent most of the last six weeks or so living out of my bargain Primark-unsuccessfully-trying-to-pass-off-as-Mulberry overnight bag, and this week was no different. The 24 Hour Shift lends itself to usage, and my capital-based friends have been amazing at letting me stay on some of the nights when I’ve been blessed with back-to-back normal person 9-5 shifts to allow me to save on train fare.

I’d packed the usual travel essentials kit of miniature toothpaste, mini shampoo, Bastiste dry shampoo (god send), various pills, make-up, etc etc. I can do it with my eyes shut these days. Charger, check. Pants, check. Then, just as I was good and ready, I realised that my Novorapid was just about empty. Yes, I could have stood up on my size 6 feet at that point and gone down to the fridge to save myself having to remember to change the cartridge in the morning. But by this time I was under the duvet, and I was also furiously writing my last blog post, so in fact, dear readers, it’s your fault! (HA).

I was very aware that forgetting to change the cartridge would have disastrous consequences. I’ve done this before, when I was working in Hull but living in York, and ended up VERY late to the office for having to turn back for that life-saving hormone we all love to hate. The mere thought of having to helplessly let my blood sugars soar makes me feel quite sick. Funnily enough, there was a dangerous time of my life when I did that through choice, which scares me hugely now.

So forgetting the insulin would result in not one, but two days sans drugs. I was staying at a friend’s in the city, as Thursday evening I was joining some of my ladies for drinks at Canary Wharf. None of us work there, you understand, but a couple of them fancy themselves a nice banker, while the rest of us like to take in the atmosphere. When you travel up that super long elevator from the tube, it’s like you’re gliding up into a different city. There were snappy shoes and REAL Mulberry bags as far as the eye could see (I’ve had one on my “When I’m A Successful Broadcaster” list for the past seven years. I’m a broadcaster, at least, but currently short of the kind of success that Mulberry-based purchases require).

With Canary Wharf and ladies inevitably comes wine. By the bottle, I add. As well as my low-carb efforts have been going (I had a roast without the potatoes, people. That’s serious dedication in my eyes), vino with the girlies is not a treat I’m prepared to bypass. So insulin would be pretty crucial to this situation.

Back to weary Wednesday evening, and not only did I have the note glaring at me from the bedside table, I took to singing an insulin-themed jingle in my sleep, and continued it in the shower the next morning, much to Papa Grieves’s delight I’m sure. I won’t attempt to put it down here, but it was a treat for the ears folks. So, late as I was for the bus Thursday morning (standard), I proudly and somewhat smugly hopped into the kitchen for that vital cartridge and legged it to catch the number 5. Win! I remembered! Fast forward 45 minutes and I’m on the train, coffee in hand, posting the usual self-indulgent Twitter observations when I receive a text from my dad:

 “Yum! Chicken salad for lunch and veg soup for dinner! xx”

Oh balls. Apparently all my concerted efforts to remember the insulin took up a rather large amount of space in my brain, and pushed out the capacity to remember my lovingly prepared two day haul of diabetes-friendly lunches, despite going into the very fridge where my lunch was sitting and waiting for me to pack it to get the vial of super juice we call Novorapid. You see, the pennies are somewhat tight, and low-carb lunches aren’t as readily available on the cheap as your bog standard tuna sandwich, so I thought I’d be SUPER organised and make something myself. What I’d prepared as a result wasn’t just a chicken salad. This was the chicken salad to end all chicken salads. With mozzarella and pesto and bloody edamame beans, no less (that’s right, we’re in London now daahhhling). To say I was devastated is something of an understatement. But hey, I was rather relieved that out of the two options, I’d managed to remember the life-saving one.

Fast-forward eight and a half hours at work, and there I was, gliding up the Canary Wharf elevator into shiny, glossy, business suit heaven. I felt slightly out of place, with my faux-Mulberry and my little toe peeping out the side of my £6.00 pumps (also from Primark, obviously. I’m becoming more tragic by the paragraph).

So on came the wine, the chats, the giggles, the checking out of the talent (none, I’m sad to say. Bankers don’t really float my boat). And at 9.45 – a rather sensible hour I hope you’re observing – , along came the tube. Super night, complete. More insulin was needed, sure, but a 6.7 morning blood sugar told me that I’d judged it to the unit. More super-ness. Not wanting to thwart my efforts of reaching Blood Sugar Heaven any further, I was subjected to a rather undignified incident with a scotch egg as I walked over the Thames that morning. On the bridge mind, not in a David Blaine-type walking on water stunt. And don’t worry, the incident is much less dramatic or sordid than it sounds, depending on how you just interpreted the previous sentence.

I’d politely turned down breakfast at my friends in order to purchase something more Bernstein-friendly on the way into work, along with the soup I needed to replace, thanks to the one dutifully sat in the fridge in Basingstoke. Dad got the Chicken Salad of Dreams for his lunch. Rude. But once again, money woes limited my options, and prevented any sort of amazing eggs Benedict affair or similar. Not that that’s particularly available on your average Friday commute. The only thing I could find in the Co-op was a scotch egg. So yes, I bought, and yes I walked, squidging the “pork” around the outside to reach the hard-boiled beaut in the middle. Picture the scene if you will – already embarrassed enough at simultaneously walking and eating, I was trying to inconspicuously dissect a Scotch egg. Yes, dear readers, as if the Primulberry and the peepy toe didn’t already lend to a rather pathetic view of your author, this will seal the deal. I did attempt to hide it in the top of my handbag as I squidged, but that resulted in all sorts of crumb-based havoc. It’s probably a good job I’m not quite successful enough for a Mulberry just yet, because that would have been a serious act of handbag-related crime. After finally realising the shiny white centre from its pork-substitute casing, I dutifully threw the outside away and munched my egg in the sunshine. If that’s not HbA1c dedication for you, I’ll happily eat a tub of Ben and Jerry’s while SWIMMING across that river (no really, if it’s my very fave Fairly Nuts flavour, I will). I passed a few funny looks from other commuters as I chomped. They were the kind of commuters that were more than likely heading to Canary Wharf, I reckon. Which is why I’m quite sure I will never, EVER be allowed to work there, Mulberry or no Mulberry.  Perhaps the lesson here is next time to write a note that says “Insulin. Lunch. Breakfast”. Well, you live and you learn.


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